When I started working with students with severe-profound mental impairments I felt like the supplies I had were not adequate. The students were mostly nonverbal and for those with speech they lacked the early concept and vocabulary skills needed in a school environment. I started searching for more resources but they were so expensive. I really liked some books I saw in a speech/language publisher but at $19.95 a book, it was out of my budget. These books aloud the children to interact with the book by placing objects in the correct position to complete a sentence or a picture. I went to one of my favorite stores for inspiration, Dollar Tree.
I found the solution to my dilemma in the photo frame aisle. I came across some small photo albums and a light bulb lit up. I purchased a few photo albums and headed to my computer. With Microsoft Word and clipart, I created my own books.
The first book I made was about colors. On each page I typed a simple sentence like “The apple is red.” underneath I retyped the sentence but instead of “apple” and “red” I put squares. After I finished the page I inserted the page into the photo album. BONUS: you don’t have to laminate the book pages because they are protected by the plastic of the photo album, only the picture pieces need laminated. On the outside of the plastic I put some velcro. This is where the students can attach the pictures to complete the sentence. After I went through the colors of the rainbow, I added some comprehension questions. The students used the pictures from the book to answer the questions like “What is red?”
The book turned out well and I was able to target receptive and expressive skills, making choices goals, and basic concepts. The next book I created was for shapes. The students are able to manipulate the pieces, sometimes assistance is needed depending on their physical challenges, to complete the story. They have the word above the picture to help with word recognition as well.
I have really enjoyed the books that Chapel Hill Snippets makes and use them often in therapy. I am looking forward to using some of those in photo album books also.
Another idea that you can use these photo albums for are mini communication books. I have made these books for several children. The pages I include in the book are First/Then, I want…, I feel…, token boards (3 task & 5 task), Hello/Goodbye cards, and various pictures for activities, wants, and people.
I have also used talking photo albums for social stories for children with autism. They work the same way as the other books. I either have the child or an adult record the voice for each page.